As a doula, I get to be part of an amazing time in a family’s life. Doulas see the great and not so great parts of birth. Both are exactly what a doula is there for. Sometimes, clients feel they must apologize for things that happen during birth. I’m here to tell you not to feel bad about those things! It’s part of our jobs. We want you to feel okay with what your body is doing. Here are some things that are totally normal that you never have to be sorry for:

Waking us up in the middle of the night

For the last few nights/weeks we have been sleeping with our phone under our pillow just waiting for your call. We jump out of bed, and start grabbing our stuff before the second breathy contraction. For me, I love this middle of the night call. It’s the start of something magical. No matter the time, the weather, or the day. It’s when your body and baby have chosen. That is the passion of the doula.

Having us come for false labor

None of us can see into future. False labor can feel very much like the real thing. We prefer you call us for false labor, than not when you need us. We also learn things from your warm-up contractions. They help us to see how you will deal with contractions during the real thing. There are a million different ways that a woman could find that helps her. If we get to see what you are personally like ahead of time, we might just have something specific in our bag just for you when the time comes.

Passing bodily fluids and gases

You will not be the first, nor the last, mama that we have held a bowl for while they got sick. There is a baby pressing on your bowels, and things happen! I will say that I threw up a lot during my own births. I feel it’s only fair that I help someone through the same thing now.

For yelling

Let it out! It’s totally ok to be frustrated or to just be a very vocal birther. You are doing the most primal of work, and that comes with making primal sounds. Your inner birth goddess may be as loud as she is powerful. Doulas embrace her with both arms.

Holding on to us too tightly

There really is no such thing. We will take out the ice when we get home. Holding on to us is a connection that you need, and we gladly give it no matter how tightly. The beauty of having a mother tightly grip my hand while she does life’s work is something I would gladly have a bruise for.

Getting an epidural

This one is important in this line of work. You did not fail us or yourself by getting an epidural. The epidural is a great tool for certain births, and oh so helpful for an exhausted mama. Doulas really don’t hate them, although it comes across that way sometimes. We respect the choice when it’s made with considerable research or in cases when it really is helpful. I had one with my first child, and I learned things about myself from it. I don’t regret it. Doulas even have an amazing bag of tricks to make an epidural birth the very best it can be for you.

So what do you say to your doula? Well, we love to hear “Thank you.” We love to hear that you felt comforted and safe. The best reward for us is that amazing love and joy that emanates from a new little family as they look at each other for the very first time. That is the good stuff. That is why you don’t have to tell us you’re sorry for anything else. That is why we do what we do.